3G to be phased out but that has some consequences

Local News

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – With phone companies using 4G and 5G more and more, now 3G is about to be phased out but that has some consequences.

Life-alert systems, older cellphones and home security systems that will not work anymore, because of the shutdown, could leave older populations without the communication tools necessary. AT&T plans on shutting down their 3G in February, T-Mobile is shutting down Sprint’s in March and Verizon at the end of December 2022.

AT&T says they’ve contacted impacted users and offered discounted or free upgrades. One study from OpenSignal, a market analysis firm, says that as of 2018 nearly 20 percent of Americans were still using 3G. Older adults and low income people with older phones will be most impacted by the change. If they don’t upgrade, they could loose access to contacting emergency services.

According to the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), who represent alarm and personal emergency response systems, says their member companies have 4 to 5 million systems to still upgrade.

“3G phones will become unusable. you will not be able to use them on the cellular network anymore. Just like when analog phones were phased out, the 2G phones were phased out a few years ago those became unusable.” Tony Russell-Smith, Technology Director at YES Computers

But advocates want the FCC to slow it down because the pandemic has delayed progress in upgrading people’s systems. It made hard because people would have to enter homes of older people in order to upgrade systems. The chip shortage made it hard to get people upgraded phones.

Contact your mobile provider or consult your provider’s website for more information about their 3G retirement plan and if you’ll need an upgrade.

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